BSE and vCJD – still crazy after all these years

Ed Randall

in Food, Risk and Politics

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780719072307
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702918 | DOI:
BSE and vCJD – still crazy after all these years

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This chapter concerns a food scandal which has been described as the food scandal to end all food scandals. It was a political scandal par excellence. The discussion examines the extraordinarily corrosive impact on public opinion and trust in government that allegations about secrecy in the management of safety in general and food safety in particular can have. The charge made against public authorities in Britain and abroad, as more and more information came into the public domain, was that they had put the interests of a minority of the population, its food producers and exporters, before the interests of the population as a whole. The chapter considers the extent to which the traumatic public announcement, made in 1996, that BSE was almost certainly the cause of vCJD, conditioned changes in the behaviour of government risk managers and communicators and the experts from whom they are expected to take advice.

Keywords: food scandal; public opinion; food safety; risk management; BSE; vCJD; food producers; political scandal

Chapter.  9421 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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